NBC News Produces Propaganda Video Highlighting NBC's Views On Domain Seizures

from the fair-and-balanced dept

Can you trust one of the biggest companies supporting greater government domain seizures to fairly report on those government domain seizures and their impacts? Well, NBC Nightly News recently ran a report about the government's domain seizures, which you can watch below. To be honest, I had to check a few times to see if this was really done by NBC, since the production quality is awful and really amateurish, the sound mix is dreadful and the background music is too loud and out of place -- something way below the standard that I've seen done by NBC in the past:
Not surprisingly, the report does not seek out truth at all. It mostly just presents the government's point of view -- even when it's totally laughable, and then very very briefly quotes Waleed Gadelkareem, the guy behind Torrent-Finder -- who had his search engine domain seized by the government -- and Gadelkareem's lawyer, who points out, quite accurately, that it's bizarre that the US government appears to be protecting a single business against innovation.

But the really bizarre parts are the quotes from the main ICE investigator, William Ross, on these seizures. It becomes pretty clear pretty quickly that the man has no business running such operations as he doesn't know what he's talking about:
"We try to protect the economic interests of US industries and manufacturers. People are taking their work product and selling it for free!"
Neither of those sentences makes any sense. Protecting the "economic interests" of US industries is way too broad. I mean, based on that, should the US government have blocked the creation of the automobile industry, because it would negatively impact "the economic interests" of the US horse & buggy industry? The economic interests of US industries are often put at risk through disruptive technology... but what comes out of it are new industries. The US government should never be in the business of picking winners and losers of disruptive technologies, yet that's what Ross just admitted he's doing here. Scary.

And the second sentence... um what? How do you sell something for free? Furthermore how do you "take" something if the original is still there? This is the guy we have making the call on whether or not to seize domain names? Yikes! He goes on:
We're protecting them against other people taking their ideas and selling them.
Um. Shouldn't Ross know that "ideas" are not protectable under US intellectual property law? Patents cover inventions. Copyright covers expression. Trademarks cover trademarks. Ideas are not covered. In fact, they're explicitly not covered. So, again, I have to ask, how is it that this is the guy who gets to decide what domains are seized when he doesn't appear to know the law? The report also makes bogus claims, such as seizing domain names effectively shuts down the websites.

It goes on along these lines, basically repeating all of NBCUniversal Corporate's talking points as fact. It's hard to see how you can expect any reasonable reporting on this topic from a company that is heavily involved in lobbying for laws like PROTECT IP which will expand these sorts of things even further, and allow folks like Ross, who clearly has no business deciding the legality of websites, to continue censorsing websites in the name of the US government, but which is clearly just to protect some businesses who don't know how to adapt.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    John Doe, May 31st, 2011 @ 12:07pm

    Wow, that is scary

    So if we seize a domain of a foreign entity, can they declare war on us?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Tom R, May 31st, 2011 @ 12:08pm

    Note that when they scroll past some Google results in the first minute, they actually stop at Hulu.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Poster, May 31st, 2011 @ 12:09pm

    More reason for me to stop watching TV -- especially NBC programming -- from now on.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Ethan, May 31st, 2011 @ 12:12pm

    Oddball logic

    how does one sell something for free?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), May 31st, 2011 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Oddball logic

    "how does one sell something for free?"
    Haggling!

    First you line up a buyer.

    He says "I'll give you $10 for that"
    and you say "$2"
    He says "fine, $2"
    you say "$1"

    And so on, until you've haggled the price to down to "Free"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Irving, May 31st, 2011 @ 12:17pm

    Prepare for retaliation?

    The U.S. Department of "Defense" has just declared that a cyberattack is an act of war.

    It would appear that the U.S. had better be ready to answer for what, under its own definition, is a string of warlike attacks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Irving, May 31st, 2011 @ 12:20pm

    meant to add a link to the announcement

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    ScytheNoire, May 31st, 2011 @ 12:22pm

    US has declared war on freedom

    You can't expect fair and balanced news from any media company that is owned by a corporation that has it's own agenda. That's why there are sites like TechDirt, because the old media has been bought and don't report the real news.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    John Doe, May 31st, 2011 @ 12:33pm

    Re: US has declared war on freedom

    That's why there are sites like TechDirt, because the old media, like the government, has been bought...

    TFTFY

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2011 @ 12:34pm

    "The report also makes bogus claims, such as seizing domain names effectively shuts down the websites. "

    How many of the In Our Sites that were seized have reappeared? What do you think will happen to them when Protect IP passes?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    PW (profile), May 31st, 2011 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Prepare for retaliation?

    They're well beyond that given the Stuxnet attack on Iran ;) Seems U.S. gov't is beyond answering to the laws they set for others ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    wallow-T, May 31st, 2011 @ 12:35pm

    Should we expect that the NBC News view of the matter also reflects the view of the ISP Comcast, who now own NBC?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Shadow-Slider, May 31st, 2011 @ 12:37pm

    My opinion is that the government's stance on copyright theory is
    "The people in the creative industries know what they are doing or they would never be as large and successful as they are. Therefore whatever they say they need we should give them because they know best. They would never use what we have given them to block innovation or competition because they said they would not and could not do so.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2011 @ 12:39pm

    Re: US has declared war on freedom

    hahaha, rely on Techdirt for fair and balanced instead. They report the real news

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2011 @ 12:40pm

    Re:

    That's a safe bet. Do you feel the noose tightening?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    Zach Mollett (profile), May 31st, 2011 @ 12:44pm

    To be honest, I had to check a few times to see if this was really done by NBC, since the production quality is awful and really amateurish, the sound mix is dreadful and the background music is too loud and out of place -- something way below the standard that I've seen done by NBC in the past:

    This definitely wouldn't be something they'd put on television, notably because the video mentions MSNBC.com, most likely this was done by one of the websites' interns.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), May 31st, 2011 @ 12:48pm

    Re:

    How many of the In Our Sites that were seized have reappeared?

    They never went away. Having your number removed from the phone book doesn't prevent people from calling you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2011 @ 12:54pm

    The last line from the student said it all really.

    "I know it's illegal but I just don't feel that it is wrong"

    When laws are at odds with community values, then those laws will fail.

    They may fail despite continued pressure and shedloads of money being spent on them by government as with narcotics or they may fail as prohibition failed, with government eventually undoing the stupid law.
    One thing is certain though, the longer such bad laws stay on the books, the more misery and destruction is created for everyone and the people who do the most damage are the ones who try to keep those laws going, the mafia didn't want prohibition to end, drug barons don't want the bans on narcotics and other banned drugs to end and certain people perhaps (almost certainly) wrongly think that their best chance of making a mint is for current IP legislation to be kept and even beefed up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), May 31st, 2011 @ 1:01pm

    What a fine piece of propaganda that is.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2011 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re: Oddball logic

    and when you get them down to free, make them take 2 .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    johnjac (profile), May 31st, 2011 @ 1:17pm

    ONLY 25 out of 125 were illegal ?????

    At 2:10 the video says this "Out of 125 websites taken down because is intellectual property violations 25 were hosting or linking to content illegally"

    WTF???? what about the other 100 that weren't illegal? And has it been proven in case law that link is illegal yet?

    This is outrageous

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    Pickle Monger (profile), May 31st, 2011 @ 1:20pm

    Logic fail

    "We try to protect the economic interests of US industries and manufacturers."

    DOes that mean that ICE will soon take over the foreign companies where the American jobs were outsourced?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    Pickle Monger (profile), May 31st, 2011 @ 1:21pm

    Agitprop

    Just a thought: does any one know who produced this segment? Maybe the reason for the poor quality is because no reputable newsperson even at NBC wanted anything to do with this...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2011 @ 1:46pm

    Sounds a lot like Leslie Stahl's shill piece on 60 minutes about how organized crime is behind file sharing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2011 @ 1:52pm

    Re: ONLY 25 out of 125 were illegal ?????

    The other 100 were offering counterfeit items for sale.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), May 31st, 2011 @ 1:52pm

    Re:

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2011 @ 2:17pm

    The US government should never be in the business of picking winners and losers of disruptive technologies, yet that's what Ross just admitted he's doing here. Scary.


    Again I refer you to Nudge by Cass R. Sunstein.

    Also the USA Government Green Technologies deal with General Electric.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    VancouverDave, May 31st, 2011 @ 2:46pm

    Re:

    The people in the creative industries know what they are doing or their bribes would never be as large and successful as they are. Therefore whatever they say they need we should give them because they pay best.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2011 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Re: Prepare for retaliation?

    Seems U.S. gov't is beyond answering to the laws they set for others

    Well, duh! Of course! That's because the U.S. rules! Anyone who doesn't believe it is welcome to receive a cruise missile through their window.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2011 @ 2:51pm

    Re:

    More like "The people in the copyright industry give us lots of money, so we owe it to them to protect them from innovation and competition. One hand washes the other!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    That Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2011 @ 2:52pm

    I heart submitting stuff that shows up!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2011 @ 3:01pm

    Re:

    They may fail despite continued pressure and shedloads of money being spent on them by government as with narcotics or they may fail as prohibition failed, with government eventually undoing the stupid law.

    The drug laws have been a resounding success. They have allowed the government to expand it's powers much more than they would have likely been able to otherwise. At the same time, the "criminal justice" and prison industries have grown by leaps and bounds.

    One thing is certain though, the longer such bad laws stay on the books, the more misery and destruction is created for everyone...

    Well, not exactly everyone. Lots of people in the legal, enforcement and prison industries have enriched themselves handsomely. The losers have been outside those areas.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2011 @ 3:05pm

    Re: Agitprop

    Just a thought: does any one know who produced this segment? Maybe the reason for the poor quality is because no reputable newsperson even at NBC wanted anything to do with this...

    Maybe it was produced in the executive offices? You know, where they pay people hugely inflated salaries to mess things up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    SD (profile), May 31st, 2011 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Oddball logic

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2011 @ 3:09pm

    NBC is old media...

    ...and old media, along with the record and movie industries, generally hates the internet. They're just getting more blatant about it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), May 31st, 2011 @ 7:06pm

    I find it amazing that I have to get better news with Russian TV than with American broadcasting:

    Linkage

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    icon
    Atkray (profile), May 31st, 2011 @ 8:13pm

    Re: Re:

    No but I smell your fear.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    icon
    Brendan (profile), May 31st, 2011 @ 9:06pm

    Re:

    All of the ones with serious user bases. The ones that didn't just move weren't being used anyways.

    You know you can get to webservers via IP address, with no domain at all, right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Jun 1st, 2011 @ 12:44am

    Re:

    Hell, when AL-Jazeera is more impartial than NBC, you know you have a problem.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    dcee (profile), Jun 1st, 2011 @ 2:20am

    Meanwhile...

    Meanwhile, we learn that 95% of spam money is processed by 3 banks...

    And what kind of websites ICE is shutting down? Not illegal and dangerous drugs websites, but torrents sites.

    My dear Dog, aren't we a bit swimming in Irony here? (capital I for irony needed I think.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2011 @ 4:40am

    Re:

    The piece was a totally normal news item.

    You people just get upset when the cold water of reality gets thrown in your face.

    Masnick's silly indignation over something like this just demonstrates how far over the cliff he is with his piracy love and apologism.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    icon
    Mr. LemurBoy (profile), Jun 1st, 2011 @ 7:27am

    My favorite line, after the report stated that sites that are taken down pop back up hosted in other countries:

    "We'll keep going after them no matter how many times they come back up"

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Joshy, Jun 1st, 2011 @ 10:29am

    So who looks out for the rights of the domains being seized...if they are protecting the rights of businesses

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2011 @ 3:43pm

    Re:

    True, last Time i watched TV the simpsons were still funny, so that was a very very long time ago.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2011 @ 9:41am

    That video is evidence that nobody wants these laws that keep punishing victimless criminals.

    If nobody wants these laws, the solution isn't to brainwash people into wanting these laws (or to use the legal system to brainwash people into wanting these laws), it's to abolish these laws. The government should represent the will of the people, not the will of a few corporate entities, and instead of trying to use the law to brainwash those who don't want these laws, the laws and politicians should seek to serve the will of its constituents.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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